I LOVE decorating for Christmas! I also enjoy creating festive artwork this time of year. I honestly have so much "Christmas Art", it's a little crazy. I created these prints from an original watercolor I did, they are on 8" x 10" watercolor card stock, and make a beautiful addition to your holiday decor! I am selling them for only $12 each- free shipping in the US! Let's say it's my way to spread some holiday cheer! Check out the listing at https://www.etsy.com/shop/fineartbylorraine
I also wanted to let people know I LOVE creating custom art! This is a perfect time of year for sharing your ideas with me and seeing what we can come up with together! Do you have someone who maybe has everything, wants nothing, or you're just not sure what to get them? Maybe you want to buy something really special and unique but just don't know exactly what? Send me an e-mail, I would love to create something custom just for you! Below is a form you can fill out and share with me some thoughts, ideas and questions. I love helping people think through the perfect little piece of art for that someone special!
One thing that I have struggled with as a human being and an artist is living in the moment. As a person who has a lot of dreams, ideas, and creativity, I'm always thinking ahead. If I don't finish a painting in a certain amount of time, it can often be left undone or incomplete, because my brain has moved on to other ideas. My art is inspired by life, by things that happen, things I'm thinking about, etc. This is why for me it's so important to live and create in the present time, and not rush ahead prematurely.
Lately, I have really been thinking about living in the present and staying true to the ideas as they come. I try not to force and dig up old ideas, or surpass my current work with future ideas.
Part of what is helping me to accomplish this is how I think of myself as an artist and art itself. I've had to conclude that sometimes art is more about the message than the image. This gives me the liberty to create something that may or may not be buyable, it might not be "perfect" in it's technique or how it looks, but I need to let it out of my soul and get across what the Lord intends for it to be. As a Christian and artist, I want the messages I'm getting and relaying to the visual realm to share a message and mean something.
I wanted to share some things that have been flowing out of my heart onto paper. These are personal, vulnerable and have been created "in the moment". As I embrace this new way of thinking, creating and living, there is a freedom and a new interesting level of creativity I'm experiencing. Enjoy!
Above is a painting I created "in the moment". I was battling a migraine and I began meditating on some scriptures.
John 7:38, "He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, out of His heart will flow rivers of living water." (NKJV)
Romans 8:11 " But if the spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you." (NKJV)
As I was thinking of these verses I imagined the living waters, the power of God that's been placed in my spirit to come and flow, bringing healing to my body through Christ's finished work. As I began seeing this, I began to experience the physical healing. I wanted to create a visual of these verses, to deepen my understanding of these. I also wanted to create something that others can look at, and be inspired to really think about what these mean. All of God's promises are "YES" and "Amen" in Christ! Yet they come by faith (that does not doubt). I'm learning that faith is easy, but renewing the mind to create a faith without doubt takes work. It takes focus and meditation.
Hope you are inspired! Remember to live in the present!
She is worth more than rubies
This verse is taken from Proverbs 31:10 and is about the well known "Proverbs 31 Woman". Most people feel this woman is the picture of perfection and someone all Chrstian women need to attain to become. I'm not quite sure I totally agree with us needing to become just like her, though I do think it shows a great example of a woman of excellence in character and a wonderful mom and wife. There's a huge difference between perfectionism and excellence (that's a post for another day!)
Anyways as much as I love reflecting on this verse, the reason I chose this verse was because I've had a lot on my mind about the power of words used as a blessing. I kind of envisioned this painting being given to a daughter from a mother or to a mother from a daughter.
I'm sure I won't get through this post without tearing up a little, I'll do my best to clearly share my thoughts about this. As some of you may know, I lost my mom less than a year ago, December 13, 2016. Two months later, I welcomed my daughter into the world. As you can imagine, it was such an emotional time for me- sorrow and joy, joy and sorrow. So, my heart holds a special place concerning the beautiful relationship between a mother and daughter.
Now my daughter is 8 months old- she is such a joy and I only wish I could share her with my mom. I know she would go crazy over her! I feel a different connection to my mom now that I have a daughter- a connection that I can't share with her since she's not here that I wish I could. I miss my mom a lot. She was my biggest supporter, she encouraged me in all that I did, she believed in me and was very verbal about that. She never looked down on my dreams of being an artist, but was always the first to encourage me to pursue my dreams.
She always told me I was beautiful, that I was smart, that I was talented and that I could succeed at anything. And there were so many times I thought she was just saying that because she was my mom- so her perspective was a little bias.
However, I realize that all of those words were like seeds that she was planting in my heart. Lately as I have began to pursue some things, create new art, or buy clothes that are a little bigger than before due to some extra baby weight- I still hear those words, "You are smart, you are talented, you are beautiful." There are times I wish I could talk to my mom, or wish I could hear her words of encouragement to me- but you know what? I can still hear them. Not in some mystical, spiritual way- I know she is not "here", but she is with the Lord. I'm not communicating with her- but her words were like seeds- and they still communicate to me.
This made me think of how important it is to share words of blessing and encouragement. Words hold power. And in a way, our words truly live beyond us. Let's let our words plant seeds of life to those we love. So that when we are gone, they can still hear those words of affirmation.
I know that to my mom I was worth more than rubies. I want my daughter (and son, and husband and many others) to know this too. This is also how God feels about us. I think this painting is a beautiful reminder of who we are to God- and who someone else is to us.
A question most successful people are asked is "how do you find balance?" This is also a question people ask those who seem to be busy, have a lot on their plate, have children, who are in the ministry or who have started their own businesses. It's a question I want to ask other moms, other artists and desire to answer myself one of these days. This question is constantly in the back of my mind and I feel like in some ways has become my own personal mission in life to answer. (True real life story- picture me at the moment sitting on the floor in my pj's with my 8 month old crawling on me and crying for my attention, with my notebook and pen raised up to to the sky as I desperately am writing down these thoughts at the moment.)
What is it, how do I get it?
Something that honestly encouraged me the other day was an interview I heard of a woman who is a single mom of about 13 children who also happens to have a successful radio career. She was asked how she finds balance. And her answer? She laughed and said "there's no such thing as balance". I think in that moment I was so sad and so happy at the same time!
A glimpse into my life a little- I am one of those people who wants to have complete order and cleanliness, where everything is put away, we are all on a schedule, I have every day divided into certain times to do things, and I get a little bit of everything done each day. I want to feel when I go to bed at night, productive and fruitful in every area of my life. I want to go to bed with the house immaculate, no laundry that needs to be cleaned or folded, a new piece of art created, and knowing that my children had a new experience or learned something by the end of that day. That's what I want.... but that is definitely not my experience up into this point! I have had to let go of my own expectations a little (maybe a LOT), and learn to find balance in the unbalanced season of life I am in!
When I think of balance at this time in my life, I have to define it differently than what I ultimately want. I realize that "balance" is a state of mind, it's a place of peace in my soul that only God can give. Did you know that in Christ our spirits are perfect? We have true peace, true joy, true "balance"? I realize that even when my house is a mess, or I didn't get what I wanted done for the day, I can find peace in my heart through trusting the Lord with my life, my days, my fruitfulness.
"He who DWELLS in the secret place of the Most High shall REST in the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91: 1 (emphasis mine). This is how I find balance. And I'll be honest, even this part of my life looks different right now.... I'm not spending 2 hours of quiet time with the Lord a day... I'm thinking of the things of God and Bible verses as I do dishes, clean up toys, grocery shop, play with my kids. I envision my living room as under God's wings. I abide with my family in our mostly messy house...(that I desperately try and keep clean) knowing that what makes it beautiful is His Presence. We sing songs of Joy, we claim healing over the times I trip over toys, we pray over our messy meal times.
I'm definitely not saying I have this unbalanced/balanced way of living figured out. I'm not saying that just yesterday I didn't almost have a little breakdown over being so disorganized that I couldn't do art, or that I'm still not striving for a better system in my life, but I am saying, by God's grace, I'm learning to embrace the times and seasons, the clean times and the messy times. The art times and the non art times. I'm learning that as I continue to seek for my definition of balance, I can at least experience peace in my heart... even when I have to dig a little for it!
Please check out my Etsy shop as I, little by little, in my "art moments" add some things for sale. www.etsy.com/shop/fineartbylorraine
I love the book of Ephesians. I think the way it is written reveals some great revelations of what Jesus has already done for us and how we can view ourselves as new creations in Christ. A lot of this book highlights things that are already done in the spirit and it shows us how to pray to receive the promises God has for us through faith.
For example just chapter one tells us that we are already blessed (vs. 3), we are chosen (vs. 4), we are accepted (vs. 6), we are redeemed and forgiven (vs. 7), we have been given an inheritance (vs. 11), and we are sealed with the Holy Spirit (vs. 13). These are things that in God's view are already done and we can experience them when we are in Christ (which simply just means we have been born again as believers in Jesus).
These are things that we don't need to question or even necessarily ask for as Christians. However, to experience these promises takes faith- and faith takes knowledge and understanding (Ephesians 1:17; Philemon 1:6).
I've been thinking a lot about this and getting a greater understanding of how to properly pray as a believer. I think sometimes we don't get the right answers because we don't ask the right questions. Along those lines, I think we don't always see prayers answered because we aren't asking for the right things.
I know this is a very weighty topic, and I'm getting a bit theological here, and in my own life I feel I'm just starting to scratch the surface but I've been learning a lot about what things I need to ask for, and what things are already mine in Christ that I just need to embrace by faith. There are some things that God has already provided, He has already given to us in the spirit and He teaches us through His word how to receive those things in the natural realm.
For instance, I have stopped asking God to bless me. I have realized that according to His word, I'm already blessed. So, I thank God for what He has done- and guess what? I'm experiencing the blessing to a far greater measure! Since my husband and I have embraced this truth, we are seeing a greater measure of God's blessing in our marriage, finances, health and emotions!
If someone deposits a million dollars in your bank account, and you are in need of money, you wouldn't ask that person for money. You would learn to use your debit card to withdraw that which they have already given you. I think this is the same with God, and what the book of Ephesians is teaching us.
As an artist, I create art that flows out of my thoughts, experiences, meditations and what's happening in my spirit and soul. I have been thinking of this, and created a couple paintings with this theme. I pray that this inspires you to think differently, to read the book of Ephesians, to pray the prayers for wisdom and revelation, and to start thanking God for what He's already done! May you start living in the blessing of God!
Even since writing this little bit, I have two kids that should be napping. One already bonked her head on the side of her crib so I had to go and comfort her, and the other one was screaming for water, after about 45 minutes of pretending the side of his crib is a drum set. (I'm slowly trying to accept the reality that my three year old doesn't nap any more but for now he at least goes in his crib for quiet time... but I'm thinking I should call it anything else but quiet.) Oh, and I'm preparing dinner because it's so much easier to do while they in in bed. So this is supposedly "my time", but as you can see...
Lately I've felt really in need of my own quiet time. A time just to clear my head, to pray, to focus,etc. But as many of you full time stay at home moms know- there's a part of my brain that is always on alert. Even during nap time (or should I say "nap" time) or nighttime, just knowing that at any moment I may be needed can feel overwhelming to me at times.
However I have discovered something. I have two choices. I can break down, call my husband at work or some friends and share how weak I am, and complain that "I just can't do this today", and say how trapped and overwhelmed I feel, or I can take the Word of God and say "I can do this. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. His grace is sufficient for me, His power is made perfect in my weakness." I can fall apart, or draw on the Holy Spirit to keep me together.
The Bible says let the weak say 'I am strong', and let the poor say 'I am rich'. This is not denial, but it is declaring a spiritual truth. And when this becomes our response- when we really decide- 'hey, I'm going to take this promise, make it mine and fight to experience this'- we will benefit! Because guess what? For those who choose to believe it, it will become your reality. His grace IS sufficient. You CAN do all things through Christ who gives you strength. This is not an automatic thing, it's a promise we can walk in if we renew our minds and take it by faith.
I created this painting as a reminder of this precious truth. This truth that is vital to me, and I'm sure many others. This is how I get through my days, with victory and joy. This is how I lift myself out of the pity party sometimes my flesh wants to throw. This is my promise, and when I take it by faith, it becomes my reality.
don't have to affect our heart in a negative way and cause hardness.
While I had a 2-1/2 year old son and was 7 months pregnant with my daughter, my mom died of cancer. It was a terrible time, very emotional as you can imagine. I was very close to my mom, and our relationship meant a lot to me. I was really looking forward to her meeting my little girl and sharing in the joy of my time as a young mom with kids. I had hoped for her love, encouragement and advise during these years. I wasn't ready to lose her. When she passed, I had every reason to have feelings of depression, despair, sorrow, pity, and grief, and of course naturally I felt all these emotions and have allowed (and still do at times) myself moments to process these feelings. However, having a little one at home who didn't understand what was going on and an innocent child in the womb, I realized I had to somehow gaurd myself from sinking into and staying in a bad place emotionally for their sakes.
For me, waking up in the mornings after my mom passed started with immediate feelings of "this can't be real" type grief. So, I decided we would start our days declaring the joy and strength of God to begin.
Sometimes our emotions are going to feel the complete opposite of the truths we declare in the Bible, but I chose that with everything in me, for the sake of my children we would say every day "The Joy of the Lord is our strength" (Nehemiah 8:10) and "This is the day that the Lord has made, I WILL rejoice and be glad in it!" (Psalm 118:24) And I have to honestly say- choosing to declare these verses every day made all the difference in how I was able to start my day and get through those difficult mornings. My heart shifted and in the midst of sorrow I was able to experience joy and peace!
Although I still miss my mom terribly and feel sadness at times, I want to give my beautiful children the gift of a happy mom. I was blessed with a wonderful mom and I want to bless my children with that as well. I know my mom is in a happy place and when I think of that, I draw from that joy too, and feel we are rejoicing together through our faith in God. Oh, and a little side benefit, as I declared these verses, not only did my own emotions and countenance change for the better, but my 3 year old son now knows those verses by heart. I can start saying them, and he will finish!
I decided to create a little painting with the words "The Joy of the Lord is my strength" which is found in Nehemiah 8:10. It's a beautiful reminder of His joy, and I promise, if you take this by faith, it truly will become your strength.
After shutting down my art business for almost two years, due to a LOT of transition and change, I've been feeling impressed to re-open and share my art once again.
Although I kind of "shut down", I have always continued to create. A lot of my creating was therapeutic to myself and my family. When making the decision to reopen I decided I want my work to truly reflect the strength that has kept me through the challenging seasons of life we have gone through.
As a Christian, the Word of God has truly been the anchor to my soul. It has not only kept me going, but has kept me in faith, hope, joy, peace and love. It has been my strength. It has been my refuge. It has been my encouragement, my inspiration and my comfort. It has been my hope for the future. It has been my stability.
Life is full of change- good and bad- but God's word doesn't change. As I get back to sharing my art, I want to share with you that which has been my anchor- the Word of God through what I call Word-Inspired Art!